Guests with a wide range of opinions were invited to share their perspectives when Anderson Cooper convened a town hall in Washington to discuss the current and future state of gun laws in America.
Judging by the audience reaction at George Washington University, the conversation was impassioned but respectful. Although there were disagreements, everyone benefitted from hearing both sides and getting to the crux of the issues.
The topics included personal safety, mental health, the culture of violence, politics, background checks, banning certain types of guns, second amendment rights, and much more. The program was enriched by the activists and experts, and also by people who told their personal stories.
The next day Anderson, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Jeffrey Toobin and producer Jack Gray met again via Google+ Hangout to answer your questions and address the points you made on social media.
If you missed the program or the Hangout, find video highlights below. Let us know your thoughts on the gun debate in a comment or by tweeting @AC360.
Welcome to a live Google+ Hangout with Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Jeffrey Toobin and AC360 producer Jack Gray!
With your help, they're continuing the conversation they started last night with many others in the "Guns under fire" town hall. What questions did the program raise for you personally about gun violence in America? Leave a comment here or on the AC360 Google+ page, or on Twitter with the hashtag #gundebate360.
We'll be live from 12-12:15 p.m. ET.
At noon today you can find Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Jeffrey Toobin and AC360 producer Jack Gray in a live Google+ Hangout on CNN.com and AC360.com.
With your help, they're continuing the conversation they started last night with many others in the "Guns under fire" town hall. What questions did the program raise for you personally about gun violence in America? Leave a comment here or on the AC360 Google+ page.
The show included guests with a wide range of perspectives on gun laws and related issues like care for children with mental health issues and the culture of violence.
An NRA board member shared the stage with the president of the Brady Campaign; a man whose father was gunned down in the Sikh temple shooting told his story, and so did a young mom who protected herself and her baby's life with a shotgun when intruders broke into her home.
Sandy Froman, a gun rights advocate who was formerly the president of the NRA, debated gun background checks with Brady Campaign president Dan Gross at the AC360 town hall on gun violence.
Gross told Anderson, "The reality is that when you go to a gun show you can see what really happens in this country, which is, under the guise of being licensed firearms dealers, people are selling guns to people that they don't know and people who could very well be criminals, be dangerously mentally ill, and people who would be caught if they went through a federally licensed firearm dealer."
Anderson asked Froman, currently an NRA board member, if the NRA has changed its position on universal background checks. In 1999 during a House Judiciary committee hearing, current NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre stated, "We think it is reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes for anyone." FULL POST
Tio Hardiman's organization helps young people in Chicago escape violence and crime through behavioral changes. He told Anderson Cooper about his work at the AC360 town hall special "Guns under fire."
At the AC360 town hall on guns, former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole explains the factors that indicate a violent person is mentally ill.
People with deeply personal reasons for their gun positions speak passionately about loss, survival, hope, and prevention.
Anderson Cooper talks to Virginia Tech shooting survivor Colin Goddard, Natl. Director of the NRA School Shield Program Fmr. Congressman Asa Hutchinson, Veronique Pozner whose son Noah was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary and Joe Zamudio who helped subdue the gunman in Tucson, Arizona.
During AC360's town hall on gun violence, Cheryl Olsen, Sandy Froman, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dan Gross discuss the challenges of diagnosing and treating kids with mental illness.
Liza Long, author of a blog post that went viral after the shooting in Newtown, talks about her personal experience raising a child who struggles with mental illness.
NRA board member Sandy Froman, who opposes universal background checks, debates Dan Gross from the Brady campaign during the AC360 town hall on gun violence.
A woman who defended her home with a shotgun supports background checks, but worries about further limits.